Global – While they remain a mainstay for most major cities, the taxi business is not what it once was. The rise of ride-share services like Uber has cut into their profits, with people preferring that service over a classic cab. Also, the current pandemic has meant fewer people going around and cab services seeing a stunning 81% drop. Yet, they remain one of the most convenient ways for people to get around a city fast, and many drivers are still trying to make do.
Cab drivers have to put up with many hassles from troublesome customers to city traffic to various dangers other occupations don’t have. They also have to maintain a good automobile being used nearly non-stop while there are various tricks some customers aren’t aware of. Here are ten unique facts about cabs and the industry that some may not be aware of to show more to the business than meets the eye.
10. The fuel prices are crucial to taxi drivers
Taxi cabs tend to stick to the same style, although the types of models that get approved can vary depending on the city. They can range from a classic Crown Victoria to a Prius as there is no set law on which cars can earn medallions. But one thing they all have in common is that fuel economy is the most critical factor.
When a cab travels at least a hundred miles per day, the less fuel cost is the better, which is why a cab owner puts the mileage above all else when choosing a cab.
9. Taxi passengers are also rated by the drivers
It’s typical for passengers to rate a cab driver on how well the trip went. But most don’t realize they’re being rated right back. Drivers will judge the riders on their behavior and make notes on those who cause trouble, from too many complaints to worse behavior.
Also, drivers take constructive criticism to adjust their driving habits and behavior, which can lead to better tips. A great passenger can even earn a discount if the driver is in the mood so it’s always good to be on the best behavior in a ride.
8. Taxi drivers don’t usually “step on it” when asked to
Cab drivers have to put up with a lot of misconceptions thanks to movies and TV shows. One of the biggest is a customer offering a major tip to get them someplace in a hurry. But a driver is smart enough to turn down the offered payday because they still have to obey the same traffic laws as anyone else.
In fact, the fine for a cab driver speeding or reckless can be worse because of their passengers. That can cost them their job or license, so drivers are not inclined to “step on it” no matter how much their customer wants it.
7. Cabs can sometimes be a germ hotbed
The cab industry has taken a hit during the pandemic, with less people in cities needing rides. Not helping is that a cab can be one of the biggest hotbeds for germs imaginable, even in the best of times. It only makes sense a car that sees dozens (if not hundreds) of passengers in a day does end up getting dirty or carrying bacteria.
No matter how well it’s cleaned out, some of that is going to remain, along with items customers drop behind. While ride-share rides can be worse, cabs are not the cleanest ride around.
6. Most taxis are equipped with silent alarms
Cab drivers have learned the hard way they can be a target for danger. It can range from an angry customer acting up to open robbery attempts. It’s why many cabbies are embracing technology with some cabs fitted with hidden cameras just in case the customer is up to something shady.
There’s also been the push for “Panic buttons” that can send an SOS to the dispatch office and the police if something goes wrong. If nothing else, the idea they can be caught in an illegal act can deter a nasty customer.
5. The taxi profession is a male-dominated field
It may seem sexist, especially in today’s world, but the blunt truth is that cab drivers remain one of the most male-dominated fields out there. Just 24 percent of global taxi drivers are women, with New York City having a pitiful 1%. It’s 2% in England while Israel and Russia can have 4%.
It seems many women aren’t as inclined to put up with the hassles or the dangers of the job, while some companies feel customers are more inclined to a male driver. While that may change in the future, for now, women cab drivers are rare.
4. Taxi drivers need endorsements
Usually, “Driver endorsements” are for race drivers. But taxi drivers need them as well. While a service employs some, many are self-employed but have to get a special license with an endorsement by the state driving board.
That’s because passengers’ risks mean cab drivers have to be far more careful than a typical driver. It’s why there’s a rise in ride-sharing services, those drivers don’t require the special deals cab drivers need.
3. The upkeep of a taxi can be a nightmare
As expected, when a car is in use constantly during day and night, the maintenance has to be huge. Some cabs are privately owned, while others belong to a service that allows different drivers to take them in shifts. Because the slightest delay means time and money lost, these cabs have to be kept in the constant best shape.
Even the smallest issue needs to be checked out immediately, with most driver costs going for constant oil changes and double-checking the engine daily. A taxi needs almost as much constant check as a NASCAR racer with all the work it gets.
2. The mileage on a well-driven taxi might not be as high as you’d think
One would assume a taxi has a stunningly high mileage given it’s driven all over a city every day. However, cabbies are smart to do their best to keep that down, plus the fact that many trips are only a few blocks rather than miles.
The average cabbie does 180 miles per day in NYC, which adds up to roughly 35-75,000 miles per year. Other cities can be much lower depending on size. Thus, some city cabbies can still have lower mileage than some cross-country trekking trucks despite all their use.
1. Taxi driving is one of the most dangerous occupations
When someone becomes a cab driver, they have to face a lot of dangers. It’s not simply the risk of accidents or other matters. It’s also the blunt fact that cab driving is one of the most dangerous occupations around.
It ranks as the highest murder rate for any job, with almost 18 out of every 100,000 killed for cash. Then there’s the large rate for accidents that can be nearly 20% of drivers. While the numbers have varied, there remains a risk for cabbies.